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keys to maintaining status

International students have certain responsibilities in order to maintain their status while studying in the U.S. While the information below will pertain mostly to all international students, some will only be relevant to those in F-1 or J-1 status. Please carefully review the information and contact ISSS if you have any questions about your status.

Check your email! ISSS sends important immigration information to your university email address.  According to the Student Code of Conduct, it is your responsibility to check your email regularly.

You can also contact ISSS by email, phone, or coming to our office. Visit our Contact page for all options.

All international students must update any change to their U.S. address in iSTART within 10 days of moving.  J-1 students who are not sponsored by the university should contact their program sponsor.

Keep your passport valid

All international students must hold a valid passport for the entire duration of their stay in the US. If you need to renew your passport, contact your home country’s consulate or embassy in the US for instructions before your current passport expires. Once you have obtained your new passport, please provide ISSS with a copy by uploading it through iSTART.

Do not let your immigration documents expire

Make sure you extend your I-20 or DS-2019 in a timely manner – before the document expires.  If you need more time to complete your program, please request a Program Extension in iSTART at least two weeks before your end date listed on your document.

Update immigration documents

Any time that you change your field, level of study, or funding information, you should update your I-20 or DS-2019 using the appropriate form in iSTART.   

Register for a full course of study

Students must register full-time (12 hours) every Fall and Spring semester. Full-time summer registration of 6 credits is only required if it is your first or last semester of study. Some automatic exceptions apply for students registered for required ESL classes or thesis credit, and for those holding assistantships. Please check with ISSS regarding your specific situation.

Planning on Registering Less than Full Time?

Please visit ISSS before the semester begins, or before dropping below full-time. Failure to do so may result in the termination of your immigration status.

Obtain a travel signature prior to international travel

Your I-20 or DS-2019 must have a valid travel signature from an ISSS staff member on it in order to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.  A travel signature is typically valid for 12 months.

Do not work without authorization

  • J-1 visa holders must obtain a work eligibility letter from ISSS for all on-campus employment. 
  • J-1’s must apply for Academic Training if the employment is off-campus.
  • F-1 students may accept on-campus employment, but must be authorized if the work is off-campus.  F-1 students must apply for CPT if the work is off-campus. Students usually apply for OPT after the completion of their program.

Do not work more than 20 hours a week total

Working above 20 hours per week without appropriate authorization is a violation of your student status.  You must not work more than 20 hours a week during the Fall and Spring semesters (and Summer if it is your first or last semester of registration).  During official school breaks, you may work full-time on campus without further approval.  It is your responsibility to keep track of your hours.